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Time management: 5 ways to seriously ‘dad’ while going to school

By Elizabeth Exline

Dads don’t get enough credit. (For proof, just scroll through social media’s treatment of the dad bod or dads dancing.) But for fathers like Logan Logsdon, being a dad is about more than inspiring a meme. Fatherhood is both a privilege and a responsibility, a career-changer and motivation to step up his time-management skills.

"The more kids I had, the more impassioned I was to make a good life for them," Logsdon says.

A challenging path

For Logsdon, that meant graduating from University of Phoenix with his bachelor’s degree one year after his first son, Landon, was born and then launching his own photography business. It meant going back to school two years later for a master’s in Education because teaching his son revealed to Logsdon just how much he wanted to work in education instead of business. And it meant juggling school, work and fatherhood as his small family grew. (Logsdon’s second son, Ashton, was born in 2017, and Micah arrived in 2019.)

Logsdon’s journey wasn’t easy or traditional. He had to take time off during his master’s program to handle some family issues and wait out the pandemic. Money was tight, and there was never enough time for everything.

But now, after earning his master’s in April 2021 and working as an elementary school teacher near his hometown of Tucson, Arizona, he can recognize how the hard work and uncertainty were worth it.

How to make the most of your time

For those on a similar path, Logsdon recommends these five tips for balancing your most precious of resources: time.

1. Be prepared for everything (and anything). Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to time management, whether it’s school, parenting ("As a father, you have to be ready for situations when the kids won’t be able to go to school or daycare"), or a pandemic.

The last of these took a big toll on Logsdon and his family. "I felt like it really impacted us financially," Logsdon says, noting how he and his wife "balanced [their] financial mindset" to cut out non-essential items like eating out or buying clothes, toys and even cars. The Logsdons shared a car for a year to minimize their financial burden.

2. Recognize school isn’t the only thing that needs your attention. "When I first went back to school, it was hard for me to be truly understanding of everyone around me," Logsdon acknowledges. The trick is to establish a schedule that works for everyone. In Logsdon’s case, time management meant setting aside those late afternoon or early evening hours for his kids. The hours between the kids’ bedtime and Logsdon’s own went toward studying.

"It’s definitely a conscious effort to make it happen the way you strive to make it happen," Logsdon says.

3. Pay attention to your diet. The road to the dad bod is paved with goldfish crackers. Worse, bad nutrition makes it hard to focus. "I was always into fitness and working out, but I was never good at nutrition," Logsdon says. The problem is that eating poorly also made him lack both energy and motivation to get everything done. Making conscious choices about his own diet (crackers for the kids and low-carb bars, fruits and veggies for him) helps him accomplish everything on his daily to-do list.

4. Make the most of the limited time you have with your kids. When you have only a fraction of each day to spend with your kids, you have to make it count. For Logsdon, that means finding ways to connect one-on-one. Logsdon’s oldest child attends the same school where Logsdon teaches, so they routinely meet up after school each day to talk and go through homework.

At home, Logsdon connects with his active second son, Ashton, over video games or outdoor time. One-and-a-half-year-old Micah, meanwhile, is "the most loving baby ever," which Logsdon savors over cuddles and reading time together.

5. Know your goals go hand-in-hand. Why is time management important? At the end of the day, Logsdon says, it’s because your student goals directly impact your life goals. Succeeding as a student not only enables you to meet that specific goal, but it also sets a framework for future success because you’ll learn how to focus on what’s important and prioritize.

Staying the course

Going to school as a father offers still more benefits, according to Logsdon, including being able to model for your kids how to tackle tough assignments and persevere.

In the end, success in any realm pretty much boils down to perseverance. "Life finds a way to get in the way a lot," Logsdon concedes. "If you aren’t committed, these tips aren’t going to be useful."

But if you do commit to your goals, you may find yourself on the other side like Logsdon someday. As both a father and a self-described lifelong learner, he is surprised by how pursuing both has made him happier — even though he wasn’t 100% sure about either at the outset.

"Both school and fatherhood have changed me into a better person and someone I really want to be," he says. And that is the essence of time well spent.

Get more study-at-home tips designed with parents in mind.

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